I was tremendously influenced by the writer Joseph Campbell, who wrote (and told Bill Moyers in a famous series of public radio interviews) that if you follow your bliss, the satisfaction of your work will lead you to a naturally successful career. The first thing I tell my own students is that they are going to be working for hours every day for years, so it better be at something for which they have a passion.
Don't limit yourself, just because someone says you can’t do something. My father was certain I would be a mechanic.
Appreciate the opportunities you have. The strength of this country is that you are evaluated for what you can produce, not for who your parents are, not for where you studied or who you know.
Put together a strategic plan for your career. Start by spelling out what you want to be known for in the future. Think, if someone is putting together a scientific meeting of the best scientists, what will be the name of the lecture that you are invited to give? Then develop a step-by-step plan for what you have to do to become that person.